Mini PC Z83 II: TV Box with Windows 10 and Intel Atom Z8350, our test!

MiniPc Z83 II

In today's review we will not go to try the classic TV Box to use in the living room as a media player or as an Android device, but we will try a real PC with Windows 10, enclosed in the body of the classic Android TV Box. The object in question is the Z83 II Mini PCIt builds on 'Intel Atom Z8350 and flanked by 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, expandable via SD card.

MiniPc Z83 II

The device is available from AliExpress at a price of approx 87 euro with shipping from China.

Packaging and accessories

The sales package is made of recycled cardboard, on which we find little information about the product and limited to some technical specifications.

Inside we find the TV Box, thepower pack with European outlet and two HDMI cables, one of one meter and the other of 10 centimeters, as well as a short user manual in English. From report the presence of a classic VESA support, which will allow you to fix the TV Box behind your TV. Absent, however, a remote control.

Specifications

The technical specifications provide for a processor Intel Atom Cherry Trail X5 Z8350, characterized by four cores X86 supported by 2 MB of cache and made with a production process 14 nanometers. The base operating frequency is of 1.44 GHz but it is able to go up to 1.92 GHz on one of the four cores. The integrated GPU is theIntel HD Graphics 400 of eighth generation that can count on 12 calculation unit, operating at a frequency between i 200 and the 500 MHz.

MiniPc Z83 II

The installed memory is of type eMMC and has one 32GB capacity, while RAM amounts to only 2 GB. Connectivity is guaranteed by the Dual Band Wi-Fi b / g / n and ac, a door Gigabit Ethernettwo 2.0 USB ports and one 3.0 full-size. An Audio output is not missing mini-jack 3.5mm (also supports microphone input) and the Bluetooth 4.0.

The dimensions of the shell, of a square shape, are of 119 x 119 x 24 mm, while the weight is around 250 grams. Finally, we find a door HDMI 1.4, the power connector and the operating system Microsoft Windows 10 in OEM version.

Construction and design

La shell of Z83 II Mini PC è well done, both in terms of overall dimensions and dimensions and for the Plastics adopted, which turned out to be good quality since I did not find crunches or bending at any point in the frame. The only negative note regards the resistance to scratches, unfortunately insufficient.

MiniPc Z83 II

In the upper part, more precisely in the left corner, we find the "Z83" logo, while in the lower right corner that of Intel. On the front profile we find only one small state LEDs, colored blu. In the right one, however, we have the two USB 2.0 ports and the card slot SD.

At the back there is the exit HDMI, the door USB 3.0 andRJX Ethernet Gigabit. Present then the auxiliary power outlet and the Power button. Finally, on the right and left side there are only some ventilation slots.

Performance, heat and consumption

The processor Intel Atom Cherry Trail X5 Z8350 manages to offer acceptable performance, especially for a basic use of the system, given the results obtained from the benchmarks, which place the device in the medium-low range of the sector.

The performances turned out more than enough and able to guarantee a fairly pleasant user experience, especially with light workloads and poco demanding, such as, for example, in the classic office use.

Computing power is sufficient, suitable for less expensive and often used programs. In web browsing, the pages are rendered discretely, even in the heaviest and most demanding ones, a sign of how the platform is well balanced despite thehigh efficiency in terms of consumption and temperatures. Too bad only for the 2 GB of RAM, which limit the multi-tasking experience a bit.

Moving on to the graphics performance, they proved to be suitable for playing the main games and benchmarks, including Asphalt 8 Airborne, with which the playful video experience proved satisfactory even in Full HD, given the fluidity more than enough also with a average graphic detail. Of course, we are not facing a high-level gaming product, but with lighter and dated titles you will have no problems.

Below the average le speed in reading and writing of the installed memory, as well as the transfer rate offered by the USB 3.0 port installed, more suited to a classic USB 2.0.

Not bad thermal management that, despite the full plastic body, allows you to obtain more than acceptable values. After running the benchmark 3D markI measured values ​​on the body below 40 ° C for the environment, and the CPU has reached a value maximum, under stress test, of about 73 ° C, a value that allowed it to avoid the infamous Thermal throttling, since the frequencies have not been affected.

MiniPc Z83 II

Turning to consumption, however, the values ​​recorded in daily use are around between the 3 and the 5 Watt, until reaching peaks of 10 / 11 Watt while gaming and to settle down about 2.5 Watts at idle.

Multimedia and video playback

As the Windows 10 stock operating system is present, we do not find pre-installed multimedia applications. However we can easily install Kodi, by downloading it from the Microsoft Store.

Moving on to video playback, I didn't have any problems watching videos in Full HD e 4K to 60FPS, both with codecs H264 and H265 and in format . Mkv o .mp4. With videos a 10-bitinstead, I had the "classics" fluidity problems e lag, often encountered on this hardware platform.

Software

On the software front, as already reported, we find Windows 10 to 64-bit in OEM version completely stock. The license is international and correctly activated, so it is possible to easily switch to the Italian language through the system settings.

MiniPc Z83 II

Free space amounts to approx 13 GB when first started, a sufficient quantity but fortunately expandable via SD card.

The system runs quite fluid, only in the first few seconds, at the maximum minutes, after the ignition we have some jamming, however once the full reactivity is good and acceptable, even if away from the platforms adopted in the Intel Nuc.

MiniPc Z83 II

The advantage of having a true x86 system will allow you to exploit almost all the software applications already used on your PC, making this TV Box a real entry-level computer, to be connected to your TV in the living room or as an economic solution to renew the old PCs of a dozen years, still present in different offices.

For Linux lovers, I managed to start a live USB version of Ubuntu 16.04 but unfortunately, several devices and devices have not been recognized, including Wi-Fi and the GigaBit port.

Conclusions

Il Z83 II Mini PC I was a bit 'impressed, positive, of course, given that for the price it offers a decent hardware platform x86 and Windows 10 genuine, all contained in the body of a classic Android TV Box. In short, it is a Mini PC really worthy of the name.

Be clear, le performance are not comparable to the most expensive solutions (Intel Nuc), however for basic or poco demanding in multitasking - the flaw is the only 2 GB of RAM - is a good device for a good part of the classic office tasks, web browsing, media player and entry-level PC and, perhaps, can be useful for a child, since the classic light games have no problems to be performed .

In short, it's much more than just an Android TV Box and offers several more possibilities, eliminating all the hassles that we find on Mini PCs with the green robot (which often do not offer updates, give problems with Kodi, Netflix and YouTube, limited to Full HD).

The device is available from AliExpress at a price of approx 87 euro with shipping from China and, to this amount, it is difficult to ask for more. Alternatively you can also buy it on The Amazon about 100 €.

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